How Does Addiction To Opiates Like Heroin And Morphine Develop?

Opiates come from a plant called opium poppy. It is extracted from this plant, with which, in turn, morphine is made. Heroin is a derivative of the morphine. In our body there are also substances similar to opiates, called endorphins, which are produced naturally in the brain.

The opiates relieve pain and produce a feeling of relaxation and euphoria, as well as a feeling of well-being. This effect is more intense in addicts or in people with a genetic risk of becoming addicted. Some people, on the other hand, feel discomfort and nervousness with the use of opiates. This probably reflects the existence of genetic differences that make a person more or less vulnerable to addiction.

These substances also cause the following physiological effects;

Depress to the reflex of the cough
Decrease in the gastrointestinal motility
Contraction of the pupils
Nausea
Influence on temperature regulation
Respiratory depression

The opiates produce dependence and development of the tolerance, even at low doses. Some hospital patients who have been given morphine for pain relief have a mild withdrawal syndrome even after a single dose, which means that the brain reacts in a very rapid and intense manner to the potential addictive effects of these drugs.

Thus, some patients who have used morphine for medical reasons for a time, e.g. in severe burns, develop a morphine dependence, although this does not necessarily mean that they have developed an addiction, since addiction is something else, the body’s physical response to a substance.

Addiction also involves psychological and behavioral factors. Thus, in cases of dependency development in the patients, medically supervised detoxification generally eliminates physiological dependence.

Heroin Addiction

Heroin is a derivative of morphine that has little or no effect when taken orally. It is usually injected or, more often nowadays, smoked or inhaled through the nose to avoid the risk of AIDS transmission that is associated with the use of contaminated needles, although the addiction it produces is the same.

Addiction to Opiates for Medical Use

These are opiates like Demerol, Darvocet, Lorcet or Talwin. This addiction begins especially when a person has easy access to these substances, as it is the case of medical personnel or people with chronic pain who begin using prescription opioids for physical pain and end up using them for emotional pain. When addiction occurs, these people exaggerate their physical pain to get more prescriptions or pretend certain painful diseases and go to several doctors at once to get several prescriptions and they may need inpatient drug rehab facility to overcome their problems.

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